Seattle Schools for the week of April 2-5, 2012

Tuesday, April 3
BEX IV Community Meeting - at Eckstein from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 4
Work Session on Capital Programs from 4-5:30 p.m.  I believe this is an overview given to the Board about what Capital Programs does.  This should tie in nicely with the BEX IV meetings this week. 

Family and Parent Meeting on MAP Testing from 5-6:00 p.m. at JSCEE in Room 2700
On April 4, staff from SPS, including Mark Teoh from Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) and Bob Vaughan from Advanced Learning, will be joined by John Cronin from the Northwest Evaluation Association (the makers of the MAP assessment) to talk with families and parents about the 2011 re-norming of their children's MAP test as well as address other questions related to MAP testing.

School Board meeting from 6-9 p.m.  Agenda.  To note:

- MAP update from the Superintendent

- reading through the award contract for John Marshall, work is to begin for a new roof and maybe a new elevator as they need to meet ADA requirements for access to the upper floors of the building.  The roof work would not be finished until mid-October 2012 and, if they are getting the elevator, maybe longer.  I don't think anyone could be placed in that building for 2012-2013.

-Superintendent policy 3210
District schools offering sports and recreational activities for students in grades 7 through 12 may maintain separate teams for members of each sex if: 
a. It can clearly be shown, under factual circumstances involved in the particular case, that the maintenance of separate teams for boys and girls truly constitutes the best method of providing both sexes, as a whole, with an equal opportunity to participate in the sports or games of their choice; and

b. There is substantial equality between the two programs. 

I find this interesting because of the word "equality" rather than "equity".  I find that districts try to find equity rather than equality because the difficulties of trying to get things exactly equal.  

- Policy No. 3421 as well as Policy 5006- the former  on reporting child abuse, neglect and exploitation prevention and the latter on staff conduct.  Interesting because of the issues around the Lowell principals and the investigation into their actions (or lack thereof).   To whit:

Misrepresentation or falsification in the course of professional practice (i.e., any falsification or deliberate misrepresentation, including omission, of a material fact by an education practitioner,...

-action to restrict use of proceeds of sales of Community Schools.   Here's something I support.  This will take the remaining balance of funds from the sale of community schools, $18.7M,  and restrict its use to only Board-directed activities.  This means real oversight by the Board as to how capital funds are spent, rather than Capital Projects staff deciding.    

However, there is some vague and sketchy language here.  The original proceeds from the sale of the buildings was $22.2M and there is $18.7M remaining.  They say:

The remaining funds were spent on Program Placement, building improvements, deferred maintenance and preliminary planning for the World School.  

Then they say:

 It is anticipated these funds may be used for the World School, for temporary loans to other capital
eligible activities and for unexpected needs of the District.

 It is reasonable to expect a clear accounting as to the spending of the $3.5M.  And "unexpected needs of the district?"  You can't get more vague than that.  Keep in mind, these are capital funds and can only be used for capital needs (they can't be used for General Fund needs).

-Snow Day Waivers.  When we left this item at Introduction at the last Board meeting two weeks ago, there had been discussion with this issue going either way.   I never went back and listened to the Board discussion on this item but I recall that the A&F Committee wasn't particularly happy about losing yet more school days.  As previously mentioned, this would leave high school and middle school students with 175 days and elementaries and K-8s with 172 days.  The district did make up one snow day but frankly, shortening the school year even more isn't something to be proud of, no matter what the reason.                                                                                                                                                    

Thursday, April 5
BEX IV Community Meeting - at Denny from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Superintendent Search update
On Thursday the 5th,  there is an Executive Session from 4-7 p.m for the "evaluation of the qualifications of applicants for public employment" - That would be reviewing the vetted applicants for superintendent.  I believe HYA, the consulting company, will forward somewhere between 10-12 applications that they have vetted which includes a smaller list of the candidates they believe most worthy of consideration.  However, the Board wanted a bigger list so that they could see ALL of the top finalists and would take into account what HYA suggests but make their own final selection.

Then on Friday, April 13th and Saturday, the 14th, there are two other executive sessions but both are all day.

Then on Monday the 23rd, Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday, the 25th, finalists will be taken out in the morning to schools to get a feel of the district.  (Let us know if you find out you might be having a special visitor that day.)  Then in the afternoon, the finalists will meet with the focus group committee.

It looks like the final selection Executive Session is Friday, April 24th with an announcement sometimes in early May.

The Board is going to be really busy so keep that in mind.  The work of BEX IV will be largely that of Capital staff, input from FACMA, senior cabinet, and community input.  BUT, do not stop sending the Board any information you believe is important for them to keep on their radar.  Also, they receive hundreds of e-mails - send something snail mail and it might have a better chance of being looked at by the Board members.


Analytical One said…
Re Snow Day Waivers - agreed this is nothing to be proud of. The memorandum submitted by the District cites estimates cost savings of $486,000 if the two remaining snow days are not made up. This implies a daily savings of $243,000, all else being equal, to keep the schools closed. It is slippery logic to do this perhaps, and very simplistic to ignore other variables, but if this amount were spread equally across each of the 48,000 students in SPS, in a sense we're saying it's better to save a cost of this amount than it is to spend about $5 a day per pupil to provide a day of public education. Is that the public policy goal we want to advance when other countries have much longer school years than ours which seems unable to grow, and often, as here, would shrink? What is the benchmark for excellent education worldwide in terms of number of hours per year or days per year? In Seattle, we seem to say 1000 hours per year is good enough. That is only a little more than 10% of the total time a child lives during a year. Hmm.
Calculating the Hours said…
Don't forget to throw in lost instructional time for MAP.
Charlie Mas said…
There can be no question that the recent investigations into the actions by Lowell administrators revealed violations of the new Policy 5006. It's not even in dispute. If this policy had been in place a little more than a year ago, it would have been grounds for dismissal for both of them.
Charlie Mas said…
Remember way, way back when the district first bought MAP for use as a formative assessment?

From that day to this, no one ever mentions that use of the test anymore.

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